60 years ago, Kenneth Heinrich started Midwest Sewing and Vacuum on May 5th 1955. Wow, what a ride it has been. He started out selling White, Singer and New Home (name later changed to Janome), sewing machines. He tried numerous ways to sell machines. He would sell the ladies a new sewing machine and give the husbands a shotgun. He sold guitars, ceiling fans and microwave ovens right alongside vacuums and sewing machines.
We have also had many different locations, besides the downtown Wichita store. We were at Towne West, Towne East, Salina and Hutchinson. In 2002 he sold the Hutchinson store to BJ and Loren Parsons. (Sorry to say the store in Hutchinson had a major fire on Friday Jan 16, 2015 and lost everything).
In 1969 he was introduced to the Swiss made Bernina sewing machine. He took them on in the store and sold several thousand 800 series machines over the years and we are still selling the newest Berninas today. He also managed to put over 3000 machines Kansas schools to replace their classroom machines with Berninas. He always kept a wide range of machines in various prices, so he would have a machine to meet everyone’s needs and pocketbook.
He was also one of the 1st Simplicity Vacuum dealers in the country and we have now sold over 15,390 vacuums. We have been a Bernina dealer for 46 years, Janome / New Home dealer for 50 years and a Babylock dealer for the last 30 years. He was one of the first advertisers on KFDI, and we have been at the Kansas State Fair for the last 44 years.
In 1980 Kenneth and Dan Wirtz, designed the first long arm quilting machine and named it the Ken Quilt. All long arm quilting machines, today are based off of the Ken Quilt machine.
This was a lot of success for a man that grew up in a boxcar, on the plains of Western Kansas with 3 brothers and 3 sisters.
This year for our 60th Birthday, we are planning several promotions throughout the year. We will be keeping everyone informed, as to what is happening in our stores. We will be sending out emails with specials and posting specials and happenings on our Facebook page. We hope to share our big Birthday with all of our loyal customers.
Thank You all, for our success and longevity,
Dixie Heinrich, President, Midwest Sewing Center, Inc.